Beauty and the Beast theatrical enchanted rose with falling petals build

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

fiveliter8

Member
Hi everyone! I just wanted to share the build of this prop with you all. Our kids recently became involved with the local theaterworks group, which turned out to be just the break I needed to put my prop building to actual use (outside of costuming and personal collection). Being the only one out of about 30 stage techs who raised their hand when the technical director asked who is good with electronics, I was then tasked with building the rose with petals that fall to at least 4 cues. It also had to look 'magical' and, if possible, be remotely operated due to the small size of the stage. Only problem, I was only given a budget of $50! With that, I told them this will be a personal project and I'll eat all the cost and keep the prop after the shows end. So, it begins!

The first matter of business was finding a dome. It had to be large AND made of plastic. Glass is not allowed as set pieces. I lucked out and found this display on ebay for $15 bucks.
m-jFVIMImsnVI1w5jXgh33g.jpg
My lovely prop-maker in-crime made this handle from a drawer pull and some beads.
IMG_1556.JPG
The powers-that-be insisted the rose be as red as possible despite our insistence it be pink as it was in the animated film. We bought two identical roses, one for use by the actors in the opening scene and the other to cannibalize for parts. Here we are sizing up the rose to get an idea of how the remote one should be set.
IMG_1560.JPG
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

fiveliter8

Member
The tech director pointed me to a couple of youtube videos where people used wires run through copper tubing to operate the petals. Those were great ideas, but none of them looked like roses! So, I designed a head that uses 1/16" neo magnets bonded to 10lb test fishing line to hold all of the petals. The thought is to use servos to pull the magnets away from the petals to allow them to fall. The head is machined from clear acrylic.
IMG_7533.JPG

There are 9 magnets in all and here is the rose with all of the petals connected. Originally, I had magnets on each of the petals, but they were so strong they would sometimes stick to other wires or magnets after being released, so I used tiny metal washers instead, which worked out perfectly!
IMG_7323.JPG

This is the mock-up on a piece of plywood to test the concept.
IMG_7330.JPG

It works! :) By-the-way, the stem is 3/16" aluminum tube from the local hobby store.
IMG_7331.JPG
 
Last edited:

fiveliter8

Member
Here, I'm preparing the base that will be part of the prop. The tube from the stem will be press-fit into this hole. The center hole is for the fishing line to pass through and the smaller one is for the wiring for the lights on the stem.
IMG_7530.JPG

Stem installed. The hole in the stem is for the lighting wiring.
IMG_7531.JPG

Stem with head installed.
IMG_7458.JPG
 

fiveliter8

Member
Installing the micro servos. I'm using a 6 channel radio, 5 of which will be for petals and 1 for the lighting.
IMG_7529.JPG

This prop has 5 servos, 1 electronic speed control for lighting, 2 4-cell battery holders, 1 receiver, and one pink LED strip light.
IMG_7464.JPGIMG_7465.JPG
 

fiveliter8

Member
Here is a shot of how small the magnets are. The fishing line is bonded to the magnets using a cyanoacrylate glue.
IMG_7532.JPG

Feeding enameled wire through the stem and out the bottom. This will be one of the conductors for the flickering LEDs.
IMG_7534.JPGIMG_7536.JPG
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

fiveliter8

Member
I'm now installing very, very thin piano wire to serve as a conductor for the flickering LEDs as well as a mounting point for the same LEDs. They will be mechanically attached to the aluminum tube.
IMG_7537.JPGIMG_7538.JPG

Here is the stem (wrapped) with wires and flickering LEDs installed. My partner dipped the LEDs in dark green paint, then, after drying, created a pinhole in the tips of the LEDs to allow pinpoints of flickering light to shine through.
IMG_7577.JPG
 

fiveliter8

Member
Here is the "finished" rose. At this point, it had already been through 3 shows. The rectangular part on the base is an LED license plate light from a harley davidson which was added due to the stage lighting drowning out the rose while under the dome. The black tape over the strip light was to also try to reduce glare of the strip light transmitting up through the dome.

IMG_7645.JPG

You can't tell from the above picture, but the base is raised off of the table using 3 long drywall screws with rubber feet stuck on the heads. I have a black felt paper skirt taped to the base to hide the electronics. This configuration was hard to handle by the stage techs and the skrit was getting crumpled up pretty bad, so I made some changes. I used plywood to extend the base down and covered with the felt paper.
IMG_7692.JPGIMG_7695.JPG

I also changed the spot light to one I picked up from superbrightleds. In fact, it was so bright, I had to put black tape to mask, and white tape to diffuse the light. The clear plastic piece is scrap from making the head. It's being used to angle the light toward the rose. In the future, the light will be embedded in the base so it will not be visible.
IMG_7696.JPG

These energizer ultimate lithium batteries lasted through 7 2-hour shows and still have plenty to go!
IMG_7697.JPG
 
Last edited:

fiveliter8

Member
My next project is getting all of the songs from the show out of my head! lol Thanks for letting me share!
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

logan74k

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The powers-that-be insisted the rose be as red as possible despite our insistence it be pink as it was in the animated film.
Hah, got to love when the folks in charge of creative endeavors make questionable changes at the start of a project. "Why red? Because in your mind a rose is red?"

Well, I'm glad the color change and insulting budget didn't dissuade you from diving in anyway, I love this project! Engineered magic is a favorite subject of mine. I understand what it's like to want so much to make the end result amazing that you have to take it on yourself. Nice solution with the magnets and servos. A shame they couldn't get the dome to work with the stage lights, it looks very nice with the glowing edge lit effect.

I wonder if you'll take a pink rose and renovate the prop to be 'correct' now that your production is done? Seems like petal work at this stage would be relatively quick and easy, or are you over it so to speak?

Excellent work man, really dig it.
 

Miker

Well-Known Member
Wow! Awesome job!! I too am using my love of prop costume set and all things technical to help my kids productions and can only imagine the pride you must have felt seeing your work benefit your kids and their friends!! ( in my case I even got like a weeks worth of no questions from my wife about why I keep so much scrap stuff and old electronics around ;) )

Questions:
- does the electronic speed control directly wind up handling the dimming of the lights or did you need to put something in between that...it's an amazing detail!!!

- how do you reset the magnets? Are they up against a spring or does attraction to the pedals put them back in the "up" (for lack of a better term) position to grab pedal again??
In other words, do the servos, when triggered, have a stop limit that's in the down position? Or do they make a full revolution?

- where are you based? (Pm if needed )

Enjoyed your post and detail tremendously. Thanks for posting.

P.s. - we don't have a beauty production anywhere in our midst but I just love and admire the process of this kind of clever engineering. My last two were building a super axe hacker ala dr Seuss and an automated mummy tomb...sadly neither of which I documented ;(

Mike
 

CatfoodRob

Well-Known Member
This is the best thread for ages ! Well done . It looks good and is technically challenging .
A refreshing break from bad foam iron men.
Be sure to show us your future projects. !!,
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

fiveliter8

Member
Wow, I am floored by the great comments...thank you all! :) Our family is definitely hooked on the theater scene now, and the next planned production will be a director-written piece involving pirates...YARRRRRRR! Soooo looking forward to what we get to build in that one!
 

nomuse

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yay, more theater people coming out of the woodwork(ing)! So much to respond to. Your prop looks very elegant, the engineering seems well thought out and I am impressed by your machining clear acrylic (I live in fear of some upcoming lathework in the stuff). I'm also amused and impressed by the various steps you had to go through to get the rose to show up through a reflective dome under harsh stage lighting. Yes, I do design lights for theater -- you ask?

My biggest question actually comes out of spending a season as a stage carpenter -- aka the guy who tinkers with the set pieces and effects through the run to keep them, well, running. Which is post production, what did you learn? How well did various parts of it stand up to the rigors of production, and what would you do differently?

Ah, so much to respond to. Miker, I don't know how fiveliter8 did it but a long time ago at Berkeley Rep the trick was to epoxy a rudder servo shaft-to-shaft to a potentiometer. They used that to remote-control a battery-operated storm lantern. As a solution, it does have a certain compelling simplicity! My own most recent escapade was a rather over-complicated XBee link to a high-power LED driver...the big advantage being we could run the transmitter all the way back at the followspot position.

logan74k, I totally hear you. Couple productions ago, director had me take the nightingales out of the sound backdrop in an evening scene. "Birds don't sing at night!" says said director. Um...nightingales. That's what they do! Heck, it is even in Shakespeare (close of the "balcony" scene from R/J; "'tis the nightingale." "Nay -- 'tis the lark.")

And, yes, fiveliter, the only good side to working in the business full time is you always have another show to get stuck in your head.

(I'm also envious you found one of the companies that has figured out that hot glue and string are not the only solution, and are not always the appropriate solution for an effect that needs to work every night and not drive the actors and crew to distraction keeping it working.)
 

fiveliter8

Member
Hah, got to love when the folks in charge of creative endeavors make questionable changes at the start of a project. "Why red? Because in your mind a rose is red?"

Well, I'm glad the color change and insulting budget didn't dissuade you from diving in anyway, I love this project! Engineered magic is a favorite subject of mine. I understand what it's like to want so much to make the end result amazing that you have to take it on yourself. Nice solution with the magnets and servos. A shame they couldn't get the dome to work with the stage lights, it looks very nice with the glowing edge lit effect.

I wonder if you'll take a pink rose and renovate the prop to be 'correct' now that your production is done? Seems like petal work at this stage would be relatively quick and easy, or are you over it so to speak?

Excellent work man, really dig it.
That is actually a great idea, and something we hadn't thought of doing. If we get a chance to rent this out, two colors would be a great option! Thanks for the tip! :)
 

fiveliter8

Member
Wow! Awesome job!! I too am using my love of prop costume set and all things technical to help my kids productions and can only imagine the pride you must have felt seeing your work benefit your kids and their friends!! ( in my case I even got like a weeks worth of no questions from my wife about why I keep so much scrap stuff and old electronics around ;) )

Questions:
- does the electronic speed control directly wind up handling the dimming of the lights or did you need to put something in between that...it's an amazing detail!!!

- how do you reset the magnets? Are they up against a spring or does attraction to the pedals put them back in the "up" (for lack of a better term) position to grab pedal again??
In other words, do the servos, when triggered, have a stop limit that's in the down position? Or do they make a full revolution?

- where are you based? (Pm if needed )

Enjoyed your post and detail tremendously. Thanks for posting.

P.s. - we don't have a beauty production anywhere in our midst but I just love and admire the process of this kind of clever engineering. My last two were building a super axe hacker ala dr Seuss and an automated mummy tomb...sadly neither of which I documented ;(

Mike
Mike, the electronic speed control is for a brushed electric radio control motor that connects in the receiver in the 'throttle' position. This particular one actually provides power to the receiver as well as providing control for the lighting. It's rated up to 30 amps, but I'm not even close to that since I'm driving only LEDs.

The magnets are reset using a small drill bit, rod, or allen wrench (whichever is in my pocket or emergency repair kit at the time) and then the petals are placed at that point. Takes all of 30 seconds to do it. I've spent so much time with this rose I can identify each petal and put it exactly where it goes. I was going to use spring returns, but could not find anything that tiny, plus I would have had to bore the pockets deeper which would require the head to be larger. I'm all about the keeping it simple motto. The limits on the servos are set on the transmitter. It's a pretty nice rig for the price (Spektrum Dx6i) and can store settings for 10 different models. I have it set to where only half of the travel of the sticks allows movement except for the one I use for the dimmer (throttle).

I'm located in the St. Louis, MO. area.

Bummer on not documenting. Lucky for me, I'm also a prolific shutterbug and photograph/video EVERYTHING, lol. I totally enjoy seeing all the great stuff you all have been showcasing here! :)
 

fiveliter8

Member
Yay, more theater people coming out of the woodwork(ing)! So much to respond to. Your prop looks very elegant, the engineering seems well thought out and I am impressed by your machining clear acrylic (I live in fear of some upcoming lathework in the stuff). I'm also amused and impressed by the various steps you had to go through to get the rose to show up through a reflective dome under harsh stage lighting. Yes, I do design lights for theater -- you ask?

My biggest question actually comes out of spending a season as a stage carpenter -- aka the guy who tinkers with the set pieces and effects through the run to keep them, well, running. Which is post production, what did you learn? How well did various parts of it stand up to the rigors of production, and what would you do differently?

Ah, so much to respond to. Miker, I don't know how fiveliter8 did it but a long time ago at Berkeley Rep the trick was to epoxy a rudder servo shaft-to-shaft to a potentiometer. They used that to remote-control a battery-operated storm lantern. As a solution, it does have a certain compelling simplicity! My own most recent escapade was a rather over-complicated XBee link to a high-power LED driver...the big advantage being we could run the transmitter all the way back at the followspot position.

logan74k, I totally hear you. Couple productions ago, director had me take the nightingales out of the sound backdrop in an evening scene. "Birds don't sing at night!" says said director. Um...nightingales. That's what they do! Heck, it is even in Shakespeare (close of the "balcony" scene from R/J; "'tis the nightingale." "Nay -- 'tis the lark.")

And, yes, fiveliter, the only good side to working in the business full time is you always have another show to get stuck in your head.

(I'm also envious you found one of the companies that has figured out that hot glue and string are not the only solution, and are not always the appropriate solution for an effect that needs to work every night and not drive the actors and crew to distraction keeping it working.)
Excellent questions! The biggest thing I learned is NOT to use putty to cover screws, lol. It makes it a HUGE pain in the butt to strike the set when you can't find the screws! I was also most worried about what the director or set designer would think about what we built and how we built it and found that as long as we put our best effort into it, they were always amazed and satisfied with the finished product. There might be tweaks here and there, but overall not too bad. I would have to guess it's not this way in all situations, and is dependent on what type of director or leads you are working for. Overall, the set pieces the team built held up EXTREMELY well, and everything was constructed with the actors safety in mind. We used a few of the larger pieces in our town's independence day parade on a float, and they held up well for the 2.5 mile run over bumpy roads.

What I would do differently, especially if I have an important prop used in the show, is to work early with the lighting/sound folks. I wanted the spot light moved to shine from slightly behind the rose, but the lighting tech was adamant about not changing ANY of the cues which were already programmed, which forced me to modify lighting on my prop. It all worked out in the end, with the dome removed for most of the show. Actually, the way the pink strip light glowed, the director thought the dome was still on! :)
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top